Walk on top of the world
This is amazing walking country with views to match. Enjoy the sunshine and see as far as Salisbury Plain from the top of Hambledon or Hod Hill, iron age hillforts full of history.
Loose Reins is at the foot of the Wessex Ridgeway, perfect for a bike ride or adventure hike, with fresh air and blue skies. Set out for our favourite local pub; The Ibberton, and enjoy a wonderful meal or drink before returning through ancient Ringmoor Common. Take one of our bespoke walking maps and discover your trail.
Take a stroll on the level
You don’t have to climb hills to walk at Loose Reins. Take to the village trail in Shillingstone, stopping at the Railway Project for a cream tea or, if you’d prefer, the village pub for a local beer. Take to the trailway or pick your way along the footpaths and bridleways that radiate across the fields on our lane. Drop into Bere Marsh organic goat farm where the kids can meet... the kids.
Dog walking paradise...
Dogs are very welcome at Loose Reins. After all, what’s a holiday without your furry friend? They’ll love the trail as much as you do, whether it’s pottering in the woods or bounding across open ground. Show them some of the best walking country for miles around and finish with a dip in the River Stour on the way home. We supply the dog towels…
Bring your bikes
If you enjoy cycling then make sure you bring your bikes, there are plenty of routes for all abilities right here on our doorstep. Whether you want to shoot down the hill at Okeford Bike park next door or fancy something a little more level and gentle you'll be spoilt for choice here in the heart of the Dorset countryside.
Our local village, Shillingstone, is home to the North Dorset Trailway, a cycle and walking path that runs along a dismantled railway line, from Stalbridge to Spetisbury. The trailway runs close to the river Stour, so it’s a lovely route for a picnic and a spot of messing about on the river. You can also ride on the forest footpaths and bridleway around Loose Reins.
Mudguards and chains
Fancy a wheelspin or two? Okeford Bike Park is right next to Loose Reins in the forest. They have a teaching skills area and regular coaching sessions to help you get the most from your experience.
Let off some steam and ride the gravity. There are several downhill bike trails to ride and a day pass is £5. Click the link to book and find out more.
Become a Bodger
The Dorset Coppice Group, to which we belong, has it’s base in the forest behind Loose Reins. Set in a clearing is The Living Classroom where local craftsmen make hurdles, gates, charcoal, chairs and much more from the hazel coppiced from the forest. Join them for a rural skills day or wander along, take a seat and simply watch as they demonstrate their craft. Join our Pioneer Trail and stop over for lunch while the horses rest, tethered to the hitching rail outside.
Step out of your cabin or lodge into your own outdoor playground.
Immerse yourselves in our animal kingdom; help look after the goats and chickens, lead the ponies in and out of their field, give the shetlands pamper parties of their own or join in our children’s riding and pony care lessons.
Find the den on the edge of the forest or camp out in a Bear Grylls hammock (if you’re not afraid of the owls), discover the wildlife, climb trees, play hide and seek. Take a scavenger hunt into the woods, catch butterflies, walk to the river and paddle. Find the village recreation ground – it’s awesome – lots of climbing frames, an aerial runway and rustic challenges to conquer.
Eat outdoors, toast marshmallows, cook damper bread on a stick and fill it with something unhealthy, learn how to light a fire (and keep it going), share your adventures over a cup of hot chocolate as you sit in your PJ’s around the warm glow of your own fire pit.
Down by the riverside
The river Stour meanders gently through the Dorset Downs, running close by Loose Reins in the village of Shillingstone. Get some real peace and quiet on the river bank. Listen to nothing but the water. Drop in a line for a fish or two or take a dip.